Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Día 86 - Parallel stories

I was reading about trying to make students more aware of tenses and I had never really tried this as much before.  They did get really comfortable with infinitives (comer, hablar, nadar, etc) in the first few years of Spanish and also the present tense.  So when we got to the past tense, they had a hard time recognizing the words because they were in different forms.

Today though, I was going over a reading out of "Mini-stories for Look I Can Talk!" involving a boy wanting to impress a girl with a duck.

Through the class I was in the past (imperfect), past (preterit), present, commands and conditional (would __).  The conditional was a little new to the class.  But in the reading a boy wants to impress a girl.  He tells her "I have a big house and 20 cars."  The people in class knew this was absurd so we joked around a little in Spanish about it.  I asked a student about his girlfriend (personalizing the conversation).  Then I asked him if he said this to his girlfriend, if she would be impressed.  (Conditional & past subjunctive).  He understood the meaning and said, "No."  Simple answer.  I didn't need him to repeat "She would not be impressed" (In Spanish).  I just wanted the meaning to get across.  Then I asked if she would kiss him.  He said "no".  Would she hit him?  Probably.  So somehow she would hit him in the ___.  I asked if she would hit him in the ____ with her hands or her feet.  He said feet.  I then jokingly said... maybe she would hit you in the ___ with [student's] leg and gestured as if I was tearing it off.  To my surprise, the students lost control and thought this was a wonderful detail.  It's funny how by adding words like "with" "of" "from" "under" "on/in" to a story, you can make them so much fun.

One of the times I said "estaría" (would be) a student looked at me and asked what it meant.  I told her "would be" and she said "Oh. That makes sense" and we moved on.  It's great how simple this method treats the grammar.  I didn't pull out a conjugation chart and show her or anything fancy.

This silly story was very useful to me because I was not in the best mood.  In the morning, I had a class that didn't have much energy and I pretty much would have been fine with going home if they would have let me.But, I am really grateful for this high energy class.  They did their job very well.  I think part of it was I leveled with them at the beginning of class that I wasn't feeling pumped up and I needed their help.  And they did a wonderful job!

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